international

How Bloody Protests Actually Helped Kazakhstan’s President Gain Real Power

The protests began on the second day of the new year in Zhanaozen, a sun-parched, heavily polluted town in the steppe of southwestern Kazakhstan that feeds off a depleting oil field in the nearby Caspian Sea and a Soviet-era uranium mine. Zhanaozen is where police mowed down a crowd of striking oil workers in 2011, killing at least 14 people and wounding hundreds, and where ethnic clashes resulted in as many as 200 deaths in 1989 during the twilight of the USSR.

My Great-Grandpa’s Execution and Putin’s Attempt to Erase the Stalinist Past

More than just another Russian human rights group, Memorial sought to keep alive the memory of the horrors that took place under Stalin. It even helped me find the truth about the execution of my own great-grandfather.   “Grandpa died somewhere in Siberia, around 1953,” my 85-year-old aunt told me recently about how she’d learned of the death of her grandfather, my great-grandfather. 

Many Ukrainians Dismiss Putin’s ‘Invasion’ Threat as a Bluff

KYIV, Ukraine — While the West might be concerned about the menacing buildup of some 100,000 Russian troops on the Ukrainian border, Ukrainians themselves seem far less alarmed.   

Competitors Are Watching the US in Turmoil

  China has long wanted to take over Taiwan, aka the Republic of China, to incorporate it into the mainland. Russia would like to take over parts of eastern Ukraine to gain land access to Crimea and weaken the West’s influence in Ukraine. Meanwhile, the US is struggling to get the COVID-19 pandemic under control and keep the economy on track for recovery.   

Why Does the Kremlin Keep Purging Crimea’s Muslims?

Early in the morning, while most people were still asleep, a dozen masked men stormed into an unfinished house outside Simferopol, the administrative capital of Russia-annexed Crimea. They rousted the pro-Ukraine Tatar community leader Nariman Jelyalov, his wife, and four children, searched the house, and confiscated his laptop.

I Was a GI in Afghanistan: Here’s Why I Can’t Forget the Women

I went digging into my box of Army memories in my garage — a box I tend to keep shut tight. I grabbed a little toy ring, I had a cry, and I went to bed.

As the World Burns, Germany’s Boomers Have Final Say in ‘Climate Election’

Young Germans will be massing in the streets on Friday with Greta Thunberg in a global climate strike to demand action to secure their future — just two days ahead of federal elections on September 26. Fear is taking hold that temperature rises beyond the Paris target of 1.5 degrees Celsius seem inevitable or even acceptable to mainstream politicians and the older voters that elect them.    

What’s Behind the Storm Over Australia’s Submarines

To the casual observer, the recent diplomatic kerfuffle over the US and UK bigfooting France in a multi-billion-dollar submarine deal with Australia may seem like a ridiculous schoolyard squabble. It brings to mind the Bush-era “freedom fries” silliness when France opposed the war in Iraq.  In fact, a great deal more is at stake this time. Experts caution that it’s not so much about snubbing France; the sub deal is more symptomatic of an evolving shift in geopolitical power — at least as far as it deals with China in the Pacific Ocean. 

Is Canada Becoming More Like Its Neighbor to the South?

The Canadian elections may not have changed the government, but a closer look at the results suggests the electorate is becoming more like that in the United States — deeply divided on regional and political grounds.   In Monday’s elections, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberal Party won 158 seats out of the 338 that make up Parliament, only one more than two years ago and 12 seats shy of a majority.  

Rearranging the Deck Chairs on the Lebanese Titanic

Faced with growing unrest amid an epic economic crisis that has led to mass emigration, the billionaire prime minister of Lebanon took to a podium inside the Baabda Palace to deliver a long-awaited announcement: A new government had at last been formed. “​​I hope we will rise with this government and at least stop the current collapse and restore Lebanon to its glory and prosperity,” said Prime Minister Najib Mikati.

The Oligarch Behind Russia’s Failing Space Program

During the days of the former Soviet Union, Russia was the first to launch a satellite into space, followed by the first man in space and then the first woman in space. It then launched the first orbiting space station. Soviet scientific space probes soft-landed on Venus and Mars and photographed the Moon’s dark side. In its twilight years, the USSR even launched a space shuttle. That was then. Today, Russia’s space program is in decline.

Will Afghanistan Emerge as a Narco Superstate?

Will post-US Afghanistan turn into the world’s first super terrorist narco-state? It’s a possibility that both President Joe Biden and Pentagon planners need to think about. Estimates are that Afghanistan currently produces 80-90 percent of the world’s illicit opium that is eventually refined into heroin. It’s also one of the world’s largest sources of hashish. Besides that, it has recently become a significant exporter of crystal meth, currently the US’s fastest growing drug. 

Can Russia Make More Than Short-Term Gains in Afghanistan?

It’s not easy to shake hands with the people who declared a jihad on your country, helped turn it into the world’s largest heroin consumer, hosted your archenemies, and sicced a motley crew of Islamist militants on your allies. But Moscow’s pragmatic approach to the Taliban’s stunning victories in Afghanistan bears testimony to its obsession with reclaiming its Soviet-era clout in the Middle East by any means necessary.

Afghanistan’s ‘Businesswoman of the Year’ Escapes From Kabul

Like a Horror Movie

It is Monday, August 16, 2021. Hassina Syed, who is 41, is in central Kabul when her mobile phone rings. Her friend screams, shouting into the receiver: “Take your bag and run! They are here and they will kill you.” Hassina Syed acts quickly. “I ran as fast as I could.” She sees people around her doing the same, dressed in business suits, dresses, and office uniforms. The air is filled with fear and confusion. “It is like a horror movie.”

The War is Over in Afghanistan. Now The Fight for the Narrative Begins.

The doors fly open and people sprint across a wide concourse. One person falls, is nearly trampled, but gets up and stumbles away. They must be running toward something, or away from something, or both.

Afghan Waterloo: Graveyard for the British, Soviet, and US Empires

Afghanistan is not just the “graveyard of empires.” It is also, as President Joe Biden has just discovered, a nearly perfect demonstration of what happens when brutal reality overtakes comforting delusions. 

Protesters Attempt Raid on Lebanon PM’s Residence Amid Dire Conditions

BEIRUT — Protesters attempted to storm the Beirut residence of Lebanon’s prime minister-designate on Sunday afternoon as frustrations mounted over deteriorating conditions in the country and opposition groups called on government leaders to resign.     

Grief and Outrage Spark Beirut Protests

Thousands clashed with police on the streets of Beirut in a display of outrage against the Lebanese government and to commemorate the victims of last year’s massive port explosion, which killed 228 people, displaced 300,000, forced businesses to close, and caused billions in damages.   A large number also used Wednesday’s anniversary as an opportunity to protest Iranian influence in the country, especially via Hezbollah, the US-designated terrorist group that maintains significant control in Lebanon.  

Can Putin Benefit From Biden’s Withdrawal From Afghanistan?

Russia’s top diplomat could not find a more attentive audience for his spiel about the hastiness of Washington’s withdrawal from Afghanistan. “Everyone understands that the mission failed,” Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told a conference in Tashkent, the capital of ex-Soviet Uzbekistan, which lies some 310 miles north of the Afghan border.

How Celebrities Find Political Stardom in Russia

Steven Seagal used to be known as a Hollywood action hero. These days he is an extra in the Kremlin’s political spectacle leading up to the election for Russia’s parliament in September.  Five years ago, Seagal, who has a black belt in aikido, received a Russian passport from his longtime icon and fellow martial arts enthusiast Vladimir Putin. 

Images From Protests for Palestine and Israel

In response to recent violence between Israel and Palestine spurred on by Israel’s attack on Al Aqsa mosque and the continued campaign of Palestinian displacement in East Jerusalem, activists in Los Angeles took to the streets in solidarity — with both sides.   

Images From Protests for Palestine and Israel

Reading Time: 4 minutesIn response to recent violence between Israel and Palestine spurred on by Israel’s attack on Al Aqsa mosque and the continued campaign of Palestinian displacement in East Jerusalem, activists in Los Angeles took to the streets in solidarity — with both sides. 

Reflections on the Tiananmen Square Massacre

Reading Time: 4 minutesOn June 4, 2021, the national flag was raised at 4:46 a.m. to the Chinese national anthem in Tiananmen Square. Bathed in the first rays of sunshine, streams of people — tourists, police guards, and morning exercisers — shared a moment of silence and watched as the flag rose.

Will Biden Tackle Political Corruption in Honduras?

Reading Time: 6 minutesTrekking north through a dangerous country, the thousands of people — families, men, women, and children — looked like members of a pilgrimage. They chanted slogans, prayed aloud, and hoisted five-star Honduran flags.

A Minor Quake Hits a Popular Holiday Destination in China

Reading Time: 3 minutesDali, a popular tourist destination in Yunnan Province, China, was hit with a 6.4 magnitude on Friday. Three people were killed, and at least 28 were injured.

Les infos dont on parle peu n°154 (17 juin 2017)

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Les infos dont on parle peu n°154 (17 juin 2017)

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La lettre d’analyses et d’informations libre n°12 (avril 2016)

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